The Eye of Illusion
Eli Ginzberg, the dean of applied economics in the United States, has studied the changing contours of economic and social structures in American for over sixty years. A long-time consultant to the federal government, including the last nine presidents of the United States, his name is indelibly linked with the creation, expansion, and refinement of employment policy and human resource needs. This second volume of memoir reviews in fascinating detail the ideas, events, and personal encounters of Ginzberg's long and distinguished career and illuminates the principal influences that helped to shape his life and work.
As in his previous memoir, My Brother's Keeper, which dealt with the Jewish dimension of his life, Ginzberg draws on public and personal history to provide an evocative and intellectually rich account of a tumultuous period in American policy. In the first part the author recounts his unusual family background—his father was an eminent Judaic scholar and his mother a social activist of decidedly unconventional attitudes—and probes the intellectual and emotional roots of his unbreakable ties to New York City and Columbia University.
The formative inheritance of scholarship and social concern marked Ginzberg's career in the wider world of academia and government. The chapters in the second part relate his service at the Pentagon throughout World War II and much of the Cold War period, and provide candid and penetrating views of American presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. Later chapters dealing with consultation and study missions, in the advanced and underdeveloped world, yield valuable insights into the dynamics of economic change. Ginzberg's long experience as an analyst of US corporations and foundations informs his discussion of the problems and challenges facing these institutions at the end of the twentieth century. A unique blend of autobiographical reflection and clear-sighted observation, The Eye of Illusion will be of interest to sociologists, economists, historians, and political scientists.